Natural Diversity a vital feature of Riverside

Since January of 2019, users of iNaturalist have added over 7000 observations to the Riverside Citizen Science project. Despite all the forces working against biodiversity - climate change, wildfires, unceasing suburban development, resurgent air pollution - it’s still possible to have a varied and enriching experience observing nature within the Riverside city limits.

This expanding count of animal and plant occurrence is possible due to upwards of 1000 observers who have used the iNaturalist technology to record what they find. Yet well before the debut of such advanced methods, people came to Riverside to document natural happenings. The Inland region’s natural history was first observed by European immigrants - adelantados from Spain, mountain men and other trail blazers - well over two centuries ago.

Development of the city was due in no small part to the draw of nature study. One investor in Riverside, a man from upstate New York named F.T. Pember, began annual visits starting in the 1880s and continuing up through World War I. Pember borrowed horses from the Mission Inn, or used the early local railroads, to explore Riverside and neighboring counties in search of specimens of birds, mammals and plants. Pember became so attached to the place that he helped found a bank, and established citrus groves located in the area that eventually became the UC Riverside campus. Now, field work by UCR students appears among the main drivers of the expanding numbers we find at Riverside Citizen Science.

Posted by jbryant jbryant, March 29, 2020 21:11


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